The countdown is on for the challengers to recreate historic voyage

The crew of Shackleton Epic are due to set sail today on their trans-Antarctic expedition.

Weymouth’s sailor and navigator Paul Larsen said the team remained

optimistic despite a few setbacks.

The crew will be departing

the world’s southernmost

city a day later than originally

planned, due to gale force winds over 55 knots and a delay in

essential gear arriving into port.

With key pieces of gear stuck in Chile, expedition Bosun Petty Officer

Seb Coulthard made a mercy dash by air early this morning to

retrieve the crucial items.

Larsen, who recently set the world speed

sailing record of 65.45knots aboard VESTAS Sailrocket 2 in Namibia,

said overcoming obstacles is what this expedition is about.

He said: “Today’s problems are forgotten as quickly

as they are resolved and this whole trip is such an adventure, even

just being in Ushuaia training on the ice today was brilliant.

“I’m really looking forward to getting

onto the Alexandra Shackleton [replica lifeboat] so I can start using my expertise.”

The Shackleton

Epic expedition aims to honour and celebrate Sir Ernest Shackleton’s remarkable

800 nautical mile voyage across the Southern Ocean, made from 1914 to 1916.

Expedition lead Tim Jarvis and his

crewwill sail Alexandra

, a purpose-built, exact replica of Shackleton’s 22.5ft (6.9m)

lifeboat, James Caird across the same stretch of open ocean and then

attempt to cross the rugged peaks of South Georgia.

The crew will

be using 1916 gear without assistance from modern navigation aids or any 21st

century equipment.

The Shackleton Epic expedition aboard the support vessel ‘Australis’

is due to depart Ushuaia, Tierra del Feugo, Argentina around 12 noon

local time on 3 January, 2013.